Last Friday, November 16, 2018, as the sun dropped near the horizon and a layer of cloud and haze filtered the light, I repositioned myself from San Clemente Pier, northward to the Metrolink Station at San Clemente, California.
I selected my location in order to make photos of a southward, Oceanside-bound suburban train with the sun setting over the Pacific.
Working with my FujiFilm XT1 fitted with a 12mm Zeiss Touit lens, I exposed several sunset silhouettes as the train arrived onto the station platform.
To make the most of the sunset lighting, I exposed manually for the sky, allowing the locomotive and cars and other terrestrial objects to appear dark.
After arrival at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport), I made my way to the Metrorail light rail station.
You have to take the LAX ‘G’ bus to get there.
Buying the fare took a bit of skill.
Once up on the platforms, which are elevated high above ground level at the Aviation-LAX station, I made a few photos of passing trains using my tired and battle work LUMIX LX7. Then I boarded a Green Line train to change for the Blue.
Yesterday on Tracking the Light I displayed views of Metro Rail from the First Street Bridge in Los Angeles.
Here are few views of trains from the bridge.
This scene reminded me of Germany’s Rhein Valley with busy lines on opposite sides of a river; except cast in concrete, without much water or unspoiled scenery, hemmed in by urban growth and decorated with graffiti. Oh, and the trains are diesel-powered rather than electric.
The broad, largely dry concrete channel is symbolic of the chronic drought in Southern California.
Although unworldly, the environment around the Los Angeles River is undoubtedly familiar to many people because of its prominent role in Hollywood Films and popular television.
I was keen to explore one of the Los Angeles-area’s most recent light rail extensions: Metro Rail’s so-called Expo Line that runs west from a connection with the Blue Line (near downtown) and roughly follows the alignment of an old Pacific Electric route along Exposition Boulevard to Santa Monica.
The portion of the line from Culver City to Santa Monica was opened in May this year, and so still has that newly-built appearance.
LA Metro Rail pays tribute to the old Pacific Electric at its stations with artwork and historical interludes.
Using my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm X-T1 I made these images under bright sunny skies. Yet, I wonder about the opportunities for evening and twilight images on this line?
The Expo Line’s largely east-west alignment combined with LA’s propensity for air-pollution should present some impressive lighting conditions.
Perhaps a visit with a very long lens during a smog alert could yield some colorful results?
For more on the Expo Line see this article in the LA Times:
Metrolink is nearly a quarter century old, having commenced operations in 1992.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve enjoyed traveling and photographing the Los Angeles-area Metrolink. The comfortable coaches, variety of locomotives, and interesting route structure makes it one of the more interesting suburban railways in the United States.
In addition to lines focused on Los Angeles Union Station are several non-radial routes/services, which makes Metrolink unusual among American commuter lines.
All trains are diesel powered with double-deck cars. The newer Rotem-built cars are my favorite to travel in.
Using my Lumix LX7 (and other cameras), I’ve made dozens of images from the train, as well as interior views of the equipment, and of course views of the trains and stations.
Last week (July 2016) I went for a spin on some brand new Kinkisharyo model P3010 light rail cars on the Los Angeles Gold Line extension to East LA.
Although the cars read ‘Test Train’ in the destination board, they were in fact running in revenue service. The automated station announcements hadn’t been activated, so instead a real live employee was calling out the stops.
The cars were shiny and still had that ‘new car’ aroma.
Dublin’s LUAS (not an acronym) is the name for the city’s modern light rail system.
By contrast, the Los Angeles Union Station is now known by its initials LAUS.
Historically, it was called the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal, and called LAUPT.
I featured this great terminal in my recent book: Railway Depots, Stations and Terminals, published in 2015 by Voyageur Press.
The other day I revisited the station and made my first digital photographs of the buildings and trains there. (A station is more than just a building or buildings).
Here’s an excerpt of my text:
Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal (LAUPT) was completed in May 1939. It is a rare example of an Art Deco era railway station and one of the few stations that opened during the streamlined era. It’s modern interpretation of the Spanish Mission style design is largely attributed to the LA-based architectural team of John and Donald Parkinson.
In Spring 2008, I spent seven weeks in California working on my ‘Railroads of California’ book for Voyageur Press. I focused on elements of California railroading that I’d missed or had changed since I lived there in the early 1990s.
At the end of May, I took Amtrak’s Coast Starlight from Oakland to Los Angeles. Among my projects was the Los Angeles Metrolink commuter rail system.Aiding my effort, Metrolink provided several comp-tickets. On this day, my cousin Stella and I traveled over several of Metrolink routes. I was delighted by the trains, which were air-conditioned and comfortable.
I focused the evening’s efforts at Fullerton, a location that my father recommended to me. Several years earlier, he’d spent an afternoon waiting for Santa Fe 3751 (Baldwin-built 4-8-4 steam locomotive) that was working an excursion.
Fullerton is a busy place with three main tracks that host Metrolink, Amtrak, and BNSF trains. I exposed this image from the foot bridge as a Metrolink train paused for its station stop. Hazy LA-area smoggy sun makes for a nice soft light source, while backlighting offers good contrast for a high impact image.